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The over-reaction to the India in cricket has been so gross that one must worry about the future

of national
self-esteem, honour, or 'humiliation', and its numerous connections with media exposure, advertising,
corporate sponsorship, and not least, gambling. The Indian players, once elevated to the status of GOD and
demi-GOD, have suddenly become demons, devils, villains, and worse, traitors. They are the prime targets of
vilification, mock funerals, and vulgar sexist abuse. The fact can be established easily, once you see their
Millions of otherwise-sensible Indians can be heard publicly bemoaning, on every defeat of India, that 'a nation
of one billion can't even produce a half-way decent cricket team.' Such self-flagellation is based on making
performance in cricket a touchstone of patriotism and professionalism. It's a pity that the self-esteem of a
billion people has come to rest on one game. That too when students of whole nation are required to
Yet, excellence in sports, in particular cricket, has never been a function of population. That's why Australia
West Indies and Sri Lanka have done well at cricket. It's not just individual excellence that counts in the game.
Teamwork, planning and strategising also matter, at which India has traditionally been weak. Besides,
uncertainty is built into the very nature of cricket, including the weather, state of the pitch, order of batting,
audience response, etc.
To look at the issue soberly, India hasn't won a limited-overs tournament played abroad since 1985! It passes
comprehension why many people cannot accept that another team may be better than ours, and must instead
impute the vilest of causes and motives to our defeat, including lack of 'the killer instinct', loss of will, or
absence of national pride.
However, we have elevated cricket into a perverse yet powerful passion and denuded it of its content as a
sport and source of joy. A cricket victory is seen as affirmation of Indian nationalism? -- a sports version
of Mera Bharat Mahaan. Nothing excites Indians as much as cricket -- to the exclusion of all other sports.
Perhaps cricket turns on Indians even more than politics, leave alone social issues, which periodically divide
this country bitterly.
Cricket is more than our national pastime. It claims a higher loss of social time than strikes and lockouts do in
industry. Someone has just calculated that if India were to reach the World Cup
final, the sport's fans in our 81 million television homes would have 'lost' (spent)
106.5 million man-days in front of the Idiot Box. This is more than 3.5 times the
number of man-days lost to strikes and lockouts (30 million) in a year!
This cricket obsession isn't natural or spontaneous. It has been systematically cultivated or manufactured
through multi-billion dollar marketing, sales promotion and advertising. Our cricket stars aren't visible
on the playground alone. They are omnipresent -- in advertising for colas, processed foods,
shampoos, cars, ayurvedic remedies, and eggs -- on Page 3, and in lifestyle and glamour stories
churned out daily by hundreds of channels and thousands of newspapers.
This is part of the corporatisation of cricket and its apex organising bodies. The Board of Control for Cricket in
India has annual revenues of Rs 1000 crores. In 2006, it sold telecasting rights for a humongous Rs 2,750
crores! The International Cricket Council sold broadcasting rights for the 2007 and the next World Cup for an
even higher $1.1 billion (Rs 4,950 crores). Sony Entertainment Television sold advertising at Rs 5 lakhs for
each 10-second spot, raking in an estimated Rs 350 crores to Rs 400 crores. Doordarshan made another Rs
160 crores. Dwarfing this is the money invested in betting, estimated at Rs 4,000 crores.
Now take the star players. Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid make Rs 12 crores to 20
crores a year for endorsing products ranging from shoes and cosmetics to life insurance. Ganguly charges an
annual fee of close to Rs 1.5 crore per endorsement. Even newcomers like Mahendra Singh Dhoni become
multimillionaires overnight.
Corporates now invest in everything, from cricket-related ground events, trophy tours, consumer promotion and
glamour shows. The all-pervasive, predatory and manipulative influence of corporations in cricket
wouldn't have become possible without ICC, BCCI and even city- and state-level boards being turned
into commercialised and mercenary entities.
Cricket now has a uniquely ugly and grotesque side: An international match-fixing mafia. Its scale of operation
far exceeds the magnitude of the South African, Pakistani and Indian scandals of the past, itself staggering.
Nothing highlights this more starkly than the murder of Bob Woolmer -- cricket's most sordid crisis ever. As
more details emerge of this shameful episode, it becomes clear that international cricket is acquiring the
same gangster-dominated character as Mumbai's real estate business, where deals are struck or annulled
through blackmailing, extortion and outright murder. The shadow of 'D Company' and other mafiosi hangs as
ominously over cricket as it does over Mumbai's mill lands.
We are witnessing the transformation of a sport into an organised, criminalised business through its
corporate takeover. Whatever corporates touch turns into dust, often bloody dust. Corruption is integral to it.
The influence of corporate sponsorship is baneful.
Such influence is now visible in other fields too, especially culture, even 'high culture.' Culture was long
monopolised by the State, which would patronise classical music, dance and other performing arts (or rather,
performing artistes), and the fine arts. Now, culture is becoming dependent on corporate sponsorship.
Sponsorship comes at a high price. Corporates, working through event management companies, typically only
want to support 'star' events which generate huge billings or attract high-profile audiences.
The sponsors are omnipotent. They can cancel scheduled performances at the last minute because the
audience may not generate enough billings. Often, they nominate their invitees to flood the audience. In 2006-
07, two big jazz stars, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, performed in three Indian cities. In Mumbai, only
10 percent of the seats were sold through tickets, the rest were allotted to sponsors. Their philistine nominees
ensured the concert was a dud. Thousands of genuine jazz-lovers couldn't get entry into the hall.
In the past, government- or AIR-sponsored Sammelans would see great artistes performing to empty front-
rows reserved for ministers and bureaucrats who wouldn't turn up. Now, the artistes play to equally empty
front-rows or pander to dark-suited businessmen more concerned to answer their mobile phone calls than to
enjoy the music.
Perhaps the most corrupting influence of corporatisation is to be seen in painting. This art-form has become
big as a source of investment, not appreciation. The art market turnover has ballooned from Rs 5 crores in
1997 to over Rs 2,000 crores. So huge is this boom that artists have started employing imitation specialists to
produce 'their' work, which they sign. Art auction-houses and commercial ventures have sprouted in city after
city to cater to the business investor -- typically, without taste or understanding of quality -- who is looking for
an appreciating asset.
As especially grotesque form of such art-commerce amalgamation was visible in a venture under which 100
artists and 110 'eminent citizens', including ministers and CEOs, collaboratively produced 120 paintings. So
you had the then Finance Minister P Chidambaram sharing brush-strokes with Anjolie Ela Menon, Ratan Tata
and Laxman Shrestha producing a painting over three sittings, and Tina Ambani and Jogen Chowdhury
creating extraordinarily shoddy canvas. The artists were all known names, none of them hurting for money. It's
shocking that they agreed to destroy the integrity of their discipline by allowing 'eminent citizens' to mess with
their paintings.
Corporate sponsorship corrupts. It always will. We must rescue art, culture and sports from it before it's too


Those who praise cricket, must pay attention to this aspect also. Can Indian Culture/Bhartiya Culture/Hindu
Ethics can afford the CULTURE OF CHEER GIRLS.

In 2008, Joining this debate on introduction of cheerleaders by Indian Premier League in its cricket ties, former
sprint queen P T Usha said skimpily clad cheer girls should strictly comply with the Indian culture and
the onus was on BCCI to ensure that performance by the dancing beauties should not cross limits.
"Cricket has come to take centrestage among all sports in the country today and it is therefore no surprise that
the organisers are romping in added attractions to cheer the crowd in a bid to pay value for their money," she

Even as the controversy over allowing skimpily-clad cheerleaders in IPL matches continues to rage across the
country and with the Delhi Daredevils deciding to drop them for the season, the former Olympian feels it is time
that the Cricket Board lays down a strict code of conduct for the show.

"Ours is a country with diversified culture and centuries-old tradition which have to be preserved at
any cost. Our actions, behaviour, speech and for that matter anything that we do should strictly comply with
our culture " Usha said, adding the US-style cheergirls will have to come under scanner for any obscenity
during every match. “Will our people accept it (such dance shows) at public functions or places of worship?"
she asked.
“Of course, times are fast changing and we also have to adapt to them but it does not mean that we can afford
any kind of vulgar display," the former sprint queen said.

Can anybody devote time and find out why Amerca, China and many other Super Powers don’t throw
interest in this game. Even, it has no place in Olympic Games, Asiad etc. etc. Isn’t it a sign of slavery.
The oldest references to the sport in India can be dated as early as the year 1725 when some sailors played a
friendly match at a seaport in Kutch. By the year 1792, the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club had been
formed, and a yet another Cricket club had been formed at Seringapatam by the year 1799.


In the mid-19th century Abraham Lincoln fought a civil war in America to free the slaves. In the 21st century,
over 60 years after it gained independence, India continues to be enslaved to cricket. This was forcibly brought
home by the IPL auctions. How much for this prize specimen on the block! Ladies and gemmelmen, look at
those arms, look at those legs! Look at that batting average, those runs, the wickets he's taken! The ads he's
appeared in! The endorsements he's made, for everything, from cars to colas, ganjis to gutka! What am I bid
for this prime hunk of cricketing flesh, and bone and muscle? 3 crore? 3.15 crore? 3.38 crore? 4.05, from that
lady in the rhinestone sunglasses and chandelier earrings in the back? 6 crore, from the gemmelmen in the
day-glo safari suit? Thank you, sir! And it's going, Going, GONE for 11 Crore Big Ones! Just like the slave
auctions they used to have in the bad old days before slavery got abolished. Except in the case of IPL the
slaves are not the ones who are being bid for but the ones who are doing the bidding, the megabuck
socialites and tycoons, and the zillion other fans across the country glued to their TV sets to catch the
action. There was a time, long, long ago, when cricket was a leisurely game played with a bat and a ball and
three wickets on something called a village green on a small, wet island called England. Today in India, bats,
balls and wickets are still involved in cricket, but only peripherally so. In cricket (is there any other form of the
game?), while bats, balls and all that old paraphernalia are still around somewhere the focus has shifted to the
razzmatazz around the sport, starting with the auctions: the prime-time TV slots, the ad revenues to be made
at a squillion Rs a minute, the cheerleaders, the backdoor deals involving sweat equity, the scams, the
accusations of match-fixing, you name it and IPL's got it, in 3D and Surroundsound. Village green?
England? Who dat? If cricket has enslaved us - and there's no if about it, it has - there have never been slaves
happier in their bondage. Onion prices? Inflation? Pakistani terror? Maoist Terror? Chinese incursions
into Ladakh? 2G Scam? 3G Scam?, Housing Scam? Many other Scams? We swat them away like the
pesky machchars that they are. Don't worry, be happy, World Cup is here. As if we are going to win
over whole world???? Are unfortunates like me free of the magical spell of enchantment that Cricket casts
over the nation? Not really. In fact not at all. The other evening I was at a social get-together, a dinner party.
Everyone, including STUDENTS were busy talking about the cricket. They are not thinking of their ANNUAL
EXAMS, but are counting of FOURS and SIXES happened till date. As if it is going to be asked in their exams.
February onward is the prime time for all kinds of preparations related to different COMPETITIVE
EXAMINATIONS. Why to have such kind of event in MARCH? Think Think Think. You will get the answer.
“JUST TO WASTE TIME OF OUR BELOVED SONS AND DAUGHTERS” Ask those parents whose wards are
writing these examinations? They will tell about cricket at length. Their own son/daughter become their enemy
as soon as they ask them to go for study and stop watching TV.


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